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Sports Radio News

Bob Matthews Exits Afternoons On WTAR

“Without Matthews, WTAR’s weekday lineup is now controlled by national programming from FOX Sports Radio except for their morning simulcast of 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies.”

Brandon Contes

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Local sports talk in Norfolk, VA got a little more quiet as Bob Matthews departs his afternoon show on Sinclair Communications’ Sports Radio 96.5 and 850 WTAR.

A local TV and radio personality for more than two decades, Matthews is being replaced on WTAR’s airwaves by a replay of The Rich Eisen Show. According to Larry Bonko of The Daily Press, station owner Bob Sinclair believes the time was right to add The Rich Eisen Show to the afternoon timeslot.

Eisen’s syndicated program airs live, weekdays from noon – 3pm, but WTAR will carry a replay of the show in Matthews former 3 – 6pm afternoon drive post. Recently, Eisen announced the future of his show is unsettled as its flagship TV Network, Audience Network is ending later this month.  

In addition to hosting his weekday sports radio show, Matthews is also the longtime producer and news anchor for Tony Macrini’s morning program on sister station WNIS 790 from 6 – 10am. Departing WTAR, Matthews will remain in the Sinclair Communications family, continuing as a contributor to Macrini’s show.

Without Matthews, WTAR’s weekday lineup is now controlled by national programming from FOX Sports Radio except for their morning simulcast of 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies. Matthews’ departure leaves the afternoon drive audience with Nick Cattles of ESPN Radio 94.1 for their local sports talk needs.

Sports Radio News

Fred Toucher Tells Paul Finebaum: Your Greatest Talent Is Not Losing It On Callers

“What you’re actually taught in radio — and not to the benefit of people — is to move things along and cut people off.”

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Paul Finebaum

98.5 The Sports Hub morning show Toucher & Rich has frequently pointed out the absurdity of callers into The Paul Finebaum Show. Thursday morning, the Boston show welcomed in the southern college football host to discuss what makes his show tick.

“I can’t tell you how big a thrill this is for me, because I didn’t realize how funny our show was until I started listening to you guys,” Finebaum joked.

“Part of the brilliance of your show is you just let these people go,” Fred Toucher said. “For those that don’t know, the instinct in what you’re actually taught in radio — and not to the benefit of people — is to move things along and cut people off. At what point did you realize ‘I’m just gonna let these dudes talk and see where they take it’?”

“I listened to all these radio goobs — I mean all these people in the corner office — tell us how to do it and I realized I can’t do that. I didn’t have the radio voice, I didn’t have the style, I didn’t have the energy. So I just sat there and literally listened to callers ramble on and I started to find the humor in it.

“It hit me one day that these people don’t have a voice,” Finebaum continued. “Especially in the south where we don’t have six or seven professional sports franchises. Callers started becoming famous and becoming a part of the show. We started having lunches with them for Christmas and various other things and days and I think we realized what we had and we made the most of it. Some of these callers really defy logic. I think I’ve given four or five eulogies at various callers funerals and I think that there’s a connection there.”

Finebaum then mentioned one of his more notorious callers, Legend. The caller actually spent more than 20 years in prison after shooting someone six times. Toucher said Legend has actually called into their show but they have never taken his call.

“We don’t take Legend because we’re not gonna do as good a job with him,” Toucher said. “I told our producer, I do not want to take Legend.”

“Paul’s a master with him,” Rich Shertenlieb added.

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Sports Radio News

Gregg Giannotti: CBS Won’t Show Deshaun Watson Accusers Sunday

“I think people know what’s going on. You’re not gonna show them and start trashing them on the broadcast.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to make his 2022 season debut against his former team on Sunday following an 11-game suspension. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct, and 10 of the women who believe the now-Cleveland Browns QB preyed upon them are planning to attend the game in Houston. On Boomer & Gio on WFAN on Wednesday, co-host Gregg Giannotti had a thought on CBS cameras dedicating a snippet of the game broadcast to showing the women in attendance.

“I wonder does like the broadcast show them?” Gio asked to co-host Boomer Esiason. “Are you guys gonna have to talk about that on The NFL Today?”

“I have no idea,” Esiason responded. Boomer explained that they hadn’t had their production meeting for this week’s show, but he felt like beyond that he and Gio had already discussed the Watson situation at great length.

Still, Gio said if he were in charge of the CBS broadcast, he would find a way to show the alleged victims’ faces.

“I mean you could show them and explain the situation,” he said. “I think people know what’s going on. You’re not gonna show them and start trashing them on the broadcast.”

Once the 2022 NFL season started, and Watson accepted the suspension and began going through the various processes he needed to go through in order to be reinstated, the focus shifted away from the story. But Gio added that now that Watson is ready to play, the story gets thrust back into the limelight.

“Nobody was talking about it for weeks and weeks and weeks, and now he’s back,” he said. “And now it’s back.”

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Sports Radio News

98.7 ESPN New York Shuffles Lineup, DiPietro & Rothenberg Expanding To Four Hours

DiPietro & Rothenberg will now move to 6:00-10:00 AM to compete directly with WFAN morning show Boomer & Gio.

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Andrew Marchand and Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported yesterday and ESPN has since confirmed that 98.7 ESPN New York is expanding its local programming. The station’s morning show DiPietro & Rothenberg will increase to four hours as part of a revamped daily lineup which will go into effect on January 3rd.

DiPietro & Rothenberg currently airs on the station from 5a-8a while ESPN Radio’s national morning show — Keyshawn, JWill, & Max — airs from 8a-10a. By extending the local show, 98.7 ESPN New York will now look to compete locally in all four hours with WFAN’s Boomer & Gio.

Vinny DiMarco, market manager, ESPN New York said, “Our fans will have the opportunity to listen to local coverage on 98.7 ESPN FM all throughout the day.” He continued, “Both DiPietro & Rothenberg as well as Bart & Hahn will give fans valuable insight, expertise, and live reaction about all things New York sports. The change also provides more opportunities for our partners to align with the station and achieve their marketing goals and objectives.”

Additionally, ESPN Radio’s Bart & Hahn will move back to 98.7 ESPN New York as an exclusively local show. Bart Scott played a portion of his NFL career for the New York Jets, and worked at both WFAN and 98.7 ESPN New York before the show moved to the national stage. Alan Hahn has spent more than 25 years working in New York media with Newsday, MSG Network, and 98.7 ESPN New York.

“We are always looking for the best ways to serve sports fans and we are excited to bring even more New York flavor and content to local fans throughout their day on 98.7,” said Scott McCarthy, vice president, ESPN Audio. “Expanding DiPietro & Rothenberg in morning drive, being fortunate enough to have Bart & Hahn back as a local New York show, and continuing with all of our other outstanding local shows will create consistency for listeners and give our hosts a greater opportunity to engage with audiences, and each other, on the day’s top stories.”

The local changes do require some additional adjustments on ESPN Radio’s side as well. The national network will install Jason Fitz and Harry Douglas into the newly opened 12p-3p slot. The 7p-9p evening show will now belong to the team of Joe Fortenbaugh and Amber Wilson. They fill the void created by Sarah Spain who recently announced her departure.

Greeny — hosted by Mike Greenberg — will remain in its current 10a-12p timeslot on the station. However, the move to a local morning show on 98.7 ESPN New York does raise questions about KJM‘s future on ESPN Radio.

The Michael Kay Show, and the station’s other local programs hosted by Dan Graca, Larry Hardesty and Gordon Damer all remained unchanged.

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